[+] [Theme] What would you do with the Rifts premise?

CitizenKeen

Rules Lawyer
Validated User
Been thinking a lot about Rifts today. And I'm curious...

Given: The basic Rifts premise. In the future, wherein there is super-tech, there is a war. Millions die from a bunch of nuclear explosions. The psychic energy released in those explosions causes a number of rips in space-time, creating portals to other dimensions. Said ripping results in earthquakes and demon attacks, killing billions, opening more portals, from which spew twists on every science fiction and fantasy trope. That was 300 years ago.

But... From that premise, Kevin Siembeda went in one direction. But he could have gone in others.

So. No discussion of the rules. And no changing the premise (though you can argue if you think I have fairly and/or accurately captured the premise). But with that premise, what would you change?

Personally, vampires never made sense in Mexico. I'd move them up north. And the whole recreation of King Arthur in England always felt tacky. I'd make England / Ireland pure fantasy, moving Tolkien over there and amping up the fey plotlines to 100. Then, I'd replace the western USA bits with a non-human technomage culture, where it's all mutants and DBs fighting against the Coalition's anti-non-human stance, not their anti-magic/psychic stance.

And Mexico would be a walled off home to kaiju (a la Monsters), with a Night's Watch-style organizations of raiders patrolling the borders, fighting off the Godzillas.

What would you have done with the Rifts premise?
 

Angel of the Dawn

Registered User
Validated User
They say great weapons power destroyed the world and made way for the monsters to come. Other say the monsters were already here, and the weapons were used to fight them. People say a lot of things, and no one knows for sure who is right. No one knows for sure what the world was like before. All we know is what the world is like now. There are many that can't imagine a world without psychic powers, magic, and miraculous technology... even if none of these are exactly commonplace.

Humanity has taken a beating, but they're still organized and numerous enough to be the dominant force on Rifts Earth. Several bastions of civilization remain, people adapting to, and even mastering, the forces that shape the world.

There are alien beings out there, coming through the holes in the world. Some are somewhat like humanity, though misunderstood and feared. But many are true monsters, even demons, creatures of malevolence and unbelievable power, armed with magic and technology far beyond anything mankind can grasp.

But as ever, mankind is its own worst enemy. A handful of city-states and kingdoms, and countless smaller communities, competing for dwindling resources. They trade, war, play games of diplomacy, commit espionage. Extradimensional invaders and other supernatural threats are but bit players in this grand drama, sometimes serving as threats the human communities unite against, other times pawns or scapegoats in the conflicts between humans.

Every community exists because it has some edge, some advantage that has allowed it to survive. They might have resources in the form of food, water, fuel, magic, or technology. Some claim other communities as allies, others have allies or resources from beyond. Any form of government you can imagine exists somewhere on Rifts Earth, and we might fight some of their cultures and religions familiar... and other so strange that they may as well be aliens themselves.
 
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TheMouse

garmonbozia
Validated User
First, I think I'd shift some of the procedural emphasis toward coming up with your own intersecting dimensions. What those other worlds are like. How they might project their influence into this world, whether in the form of invading monsters, emissaries intent on negotiation, military force, or whatever else. And what that would look like early on versus once it's become established.

Then I'd want to make things a little less shitty and hopeless. A bit less like techno-Nazis versus psychic vampires versus Skynet (etc), and everyone else is just fucked. It doesn't have to be all hope and light and wonder, but I like a bit of that stuff.
 

Blackwingedheaven

Crystal Human
Validated User
More Thundarr, more Mad Max, less "every region defaults to its stereotypical cliches." A lot more talk about what "life on the ground" is like for the average person in the world and how the intersection of magic, psychic powers, alien dimensions, and supertech affect the existence of Joe Dirtfarmer.
 

CitizenKeen

Rules Lawyer
Validated User
More Thundarr, more Mad Max, less "every region defaults to its stereotypical cliches." A lot more talk about what "life on the ground" is like for the average person in the world and how the intersection of magic, psychic powers, alien dimensions, and supertech affect the existence of Joe Dirtfarmer.
I would love to read a Rifts-through-a-Numenera-lens kind of book. I agree - what is it like in the NGR or Bahia for people who are neither badasses nor slaves?
 

Kevin Mowery

WAUGH!
Validated User
First, I think I'd shift some of the procedural emphasis toward coming up with your own intersecting dimensions. What those other worlds are like. How they might project their influence into this world, whether in the form of invading monsters, emissaries intent on negotiation, military force, or whatever else. And what that would look like early on versus once it's become established.

Then I'd want to make things a little less shitty and hopeless. A bit less like techno-Nazis versus psychic vampires versus Skynet (etc), and everyone else is just fucked. It doesn't have to be all hope and light and wonder, but I like a bit of that stuff.
I'd want to have a dozen or so dimensions already planned out, but leave plenty of space on the map for people to add whatever they wanted in the gaps. The big thing I'd be tempted to do is make those dozen or so invading dimensions based on recognizable properties or at least genres. So maybe there's a '50s sci-fi dimension, with bug-eyed aliens, giant insects, rocket ships, and ray guns. Maybe there's a Hammer Studios style horror dimension with werewolves and vampires and Frankensteins (doctors and monsters both). Post-apocalyptic robot holocaust dimension. Tolkienesque fantasy. Superheroes. Kaiju and Earth Defense Force. Cthulhu world. Whatever.

Then, like you say, figure out how those dimensions might project their influence into this one. Some of the timelines, like the superheroes, kaiju, killer robots, etc. are going to be flashy and obvious. Some, like the monsters and Cthulhu cults, might be subtle and just quietly spread around the globe. Advance the timeline by a few centuries.

More Thundarr, more Mad Max, less "every region defaults to its stereotypical cliches." A lot more talk about what "life on the ground" is like for the average person in the world and how the intersection of magic, psychic powers, alien dimensions, and supertech affect the existence of Joe Dirtfarmer.
This, but maybe only a little more talk about life on the ground. We're presumably not playing Joe Dirtfarmer (the Vagabond OCC aside), so we don't need much more discussion of that than we do in D&D.
 

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Have you ever seen (or played) Primeval? Anomalies show up everywhere and when. Real time travel occurs. Now if the anomalies/ rifts breached space and time... you get various weirdnesses.

So here you are today, 300 years before the explosion. The Rifts are opening up here and now (now, been opening up a while in the future) Now up and down the timeline and across to the various world lines, things can cross over. Each world stays somewhat separate, but contaminated by things from the Rifts. People/ Governments are trying to keep them secret (if they can contain them). Still there are more than they know of. The Vampire Apocalypse opened up to Toronto, a few slipped through before the Rift closed. The Aztecs are out in the desert not far from Mexico City, fighting it out with the drug cartels for territory. England is dodging dinosaurs and faries. Eventually the Truth will come out, but until then you are fighting the Rift's anomalies.

You can find these places and cross over to other world. A steampunk one (not found in the cannon rifts). One where there was a plague (hope you're immune). Or the one where it is Victorian India with minor magical abilities. You can find out about the Atomic Wasteland of the Future, maybe shift it so it does not happen. However if you go there, there are thousands of anomalies to any number of times and places. This makes the Atomic Wastelands so very dangerous. etc. etc.

So in my case, more individual worlds that are just crossing over. Eventually, you will travel to other world and find worlds where the Rifts have totally contaminated the world. However, most worlds are holding their own against contamination.
 
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Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
I actually came up with something a bit similar before someone clued me in that this is how Rifts worked. Since I have to follow the OP premise I'll simply direct you to the original if you want to see my preferred version.


My version of Rifts would either have more of Earth survive the apocalypse, or recover faster. In either case 300 years later there would at least be a few high-tech mega-cities, and not of the cyberpunk (or anything else "-punk") kind. If not a fully recovered Earth that's like a post-masquerade urban fantasy/alien conspiracy world only with justification for making up place names and cultures.

The most important aspect would be "new land": either landmass inserted into existing Earth surface so there's new islands and new bits of land in the middle of countries/continents, or the rifts allow easy travel to the other dimensions.

Honestly I'm not really an "apocalypse" person. :D

UPDATE: No, wait, I would, but on one condition: kill ALL the humans. No humans survive. Not one. Then the setting is populated by non-humans who partake of the human cultural record and style their societies along lines they don't really understand, leading to places that are just as likely to resemble historical and fantasy fiction as modern day or futuristic.
 
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TheMouse

garmonbozia
Validated User
I'd want to have a dozen or so dimensions already planned out, but leave plenty of space on the map for people to add whatever they wanted in the gaps.
For such things, a dozen seems good. Maybe do a third of those in depth, a third with maybe a page a piece, and the final third with perhaps a paragraph each. Plenty to use to start up, but also plenty to use as seeds to personalize the setting.

The big thing I'd be tempted to do is make those dozen or so invading dimensions based on recognizable properties or at least genres.
Now that I like. Very fun.
 
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